France may send more troops to Afghanistan: Sarkozy

Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:17pm EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - France will send more troops to Afghanistan to help fight the Taliban and al Qaeda if certain conditions are met by NATO, President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday.

Speaking to the British parliament on a state visit to London, he said: "France has proposed to its allies in the Atlantic alliance a strategy to enable the Afghan people and their legitimate government to build peace.

"If these proposals are accepted, France will propose at the (forthcoming NATO) summit in Bucharest reinforcing its military presence. We cannot accept the return of the Taliban and al Qaeda to Kabul."

NATO powers will meet in the Romanian capital from April 2 to 4 and Afghanistan is expected to be a main issue.

France has around 1,600 troops in Afghanistan, most of them based around the capital Kabul, serving as part of NATO's 43,000-strong International Security Assistance Force.

The United States and Britain have repeatedly called on NATO allies in recent months to boost their contribution to the force in Afghanistan, where there are signs that the Taliban militancy is growing in strength.

(Reporting by Luke Baker, edited by Richard Meares)

 
<p>French soldiers stand guard in front of the Darlaman Palace as part of security measures surrounding the visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Kabul, December 22, 2007. REUTERS/Eric Feferberg/Pool</p>